published: 4 /
Paraguyan brothers Joern and Dirk Wenger, known as JODI, released one album in 1971, and since then psych/fuzz collectors have been searching for more recordings. They're here now, and Tommy Gunnarsson takes us through a new collection.
Every now and then, some undiscovered artists from the past are unearthed, often in the form of reissues of some kind.
A couple of years ago, the Grapefruit label brought us the whimsical and lovely sounds of H&F Recordings, which was John Fernandino and Peter Howell, who recorded and released a handful of albums in the late '60s and early '70s. Those albums are now impossible to find due to the extremely limited pressings - some of them were pressed up in only 100 copies. And sometimes, these kinds of "holy grails" for record collectors don't quite live up the expectations musically.
JODI, or Joern and Dirk Wenger as their friends called them, released the album 'Pops de Vanguardia' in 1971, and since then it’s been a cult classic and a collector's item that's now selling for more than £100.
Until recently, this was the Paraguayan brothers' only known output, but now the Outsider Music label is here to change that. 'Pop Espontáneo' (the brothers called their music 'spontaneous pop') collects a number of songs recorded between 1969 and 1975, all recorded in their then-modern 8-track studio in Asunción, Paraguay.
The label really wants to point out the fact that Joern and Dirk were living in their own isolated world, free from any commercial pressure, and it’s not hard to hear this in the recordings. The songs presented here are spanning from instrumental psychedelia via funk to fuzzy pop songs, all made with a huge pinch of DIY spirit.
On an album this varied, it’s almost impossible to love it all. For me, the poppier songs are the most interesting ones, such as 'Change your mind about me' and 'I find you in the night', even though they also have a tendency to erupt in psychedelia-influenced guitar solos. The more experimental tracks are not exactly easy listening, but they also have a certain charm and they are also an interesting document of JODI's playful way of making music.
If you are interested in music made off the radar, and in psychedelic experiments in particular, this is certainly an album for you! But for those who think that Strawberry Alarm Clock or the Amboy Dukes are a bit too weird, well, this collection may not be for you.
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